By- Swadesh Roy
Bangladesh and Bhutan have entered a new business era. Though trade agreement was signed between two countries in 1980 but now both have started a new beginning. It is showing that, two countries will be befitted in economy rapidly. Bhutan is a smaller country than Bangladesh but Bhutan exports more in Bangladesh. But, this new start will accomplish a big goal. It is not the time to calculate which country is exporting more and which less is. It is the time to consider how these two countries are getting benefit from new connectivity and business relation.
It is true, the agricultural products, basically fruits of Bhutan is more popular in Bangladesh; besides that Bangladesh does not have the type of land which can produce orange and apple in a large scale. Even, the climate of Bangladesh is not in favour of apple cultivation. So, these two countries have to reach in a common point regarding how they can produce these fruits in a large scale. Bangladesh has reached a maximum height in rice production. Bangladesh is able to provide every citizen sufficient rice now. So the government of Bangladesh has to think now that she has to provide more nutrition to people. Fruit is one of the most nutritious foods. The habit of taking fruit is increasing in Bangladesh. In that case, Bangladesh and Bhutan have to find out a way of producing orange, and apple in a large scale.
In this case, Bangladesh can invest capital and manpower and Bhutan can invest their land to cultivate orange, apple and other orchards. It can be easier if it is run in private sector. The governments of two countries have to allow that private sector will do this.
We know that, through the orchards, the economy of Thailand is getting a large benefit. All over the world, people can see Thai orchard in any five star hotel. If Bangladesh and Bhutan start cultivating fruits jointly, it can follow Thai orchards because demand of fruits in Bhutan is not much high and thus it is possible for the growers to export these to other parts of the world.
On the other hand Bangladesh and Bhutan is going to start tourism business jointly. It is hopeful that, these two countries are lucrative places for tourism. That is why, tourism will increase here; and with this business, hotel business must be increased. Hotels will be also market of these orchards. Besides, producing fruits Bhutan and Bangladesh can set up agro based processing industries. On the other hand, besides orchards Bangladesh have a large demand of spice, ginger, turmeric, onion and garlic. It can be possible to cultivate some of them better in the hilly land. So Bangladesh can invest capital and manpower in that agriculture sector in Bhutan. That will open a new window for the economy of the two countries.
Bhutan’s economy is growing day by day, so Bangladesh can take over a market there for garments, cosmetics and house hold items. It is a close market for Bangladesh. Bangladesh and Bhutan are using Tamabil – Dhauki route. In this route, Bhutan and Bangladesh are using 280 km street of India. India has given this facility for its two neighbors.
It is a big change for Indian foreign policy and their business attitude. India has understood that, market economy wants more market. If any country goes to open market economy policy they have to be an open country. They have to build cooperation with the world but they have to build regional cooperation first. It is clear now that, India is going for a regional cooperation.
India’s present government is very much serious about building regional cooperation but it is true, the present government of Bangladesh and its leader Sheikh Hasina is the most sincere leader of this region; who wants to promote a true and strong regional cooperation. In true sense it can be said that, sincerity of Sheikh Hasina is building regional cooperation of this area. She is the model of the regional cooperation of this area. To build regional cooperation, what Sheikh Hasina has done and what she is doing- will be recognized in future history. Now that the north east of India is heading for relative peace; it is also largely a result of the leadership of Sheikh Hasina. Sheikh Hasina is now the leader of electricity of her country. In that way she is taking her place in the future history of Bangladesh that she will be called as a leader of electricity. Leader of electricity means a leader of modern world.
Sheikh Hasina is trying to produce electricity jointly with Bhutan. There is a huge resource of hydro-electricity in Bhutan. It is green electricity so it can be produced in optimum scale. India is helping Bhutan to generate electricity. Bangladesh is going to be a part of it and India has agreed to allow transmission of electricity through its territory. This electricity of Bhutan and the two ports of Bangladesh will be another new window of the economy of Bhutan and Bangladesh. These two countries are taking initiative urgently in these sectors.
However Sheik Hasina is trying to have an open business relation with Bhutan. As a result of the effort of Hasina, India is giving the transit facility through their land so it is a new age for these two countries. On the other hand India has committed to give more facilities because Bangladesh is giving more facilities for their block land area. In addition, now it is very much needed to build regional economical cooperation. So, Bhutan and Bangladesh have to take more initiative. It is the time of advancement. So we think the leader of the two countries will do that.
Swadesh Roy is the Executive editor of Daily Janakantha, Dhaka, Bangladesh. He can be reached at [email protected]